Dear Central Okanagan,
My name is Kyle Wilson. I am your neighbor living on Foxtail Terrace since May 2020. I was born and raised in the Okanagan. I have been licensed as a Mortgage Broker since 2012. The reason for this open letter is because I wish to encourage change through my personal habits related to the environment and climate change. I feel like most people want to do this, but they just don’t know where to start, or how to stay motivated. I need your help in staying motivated and accountable.
In British Columbia, one thing was made clear in 2021. The entire planet is affected by climate change in its own unique way. The only way we can make a difference is if we are all in this together. So what are we going to do about it?
Covid-19 is an excellent example in motivating people to find digital solutions to keep their business up and running. My business now operates entirely on a digitally encrypted cloud storage platform requiring 2 factor authentication to access confidential client documents. This results in a zero requirement to “print” paper documents for archiving. Gone are the days where we were required to store client files in a filing cabinet “locked up” in an office, where there is a risk of a criminal breach of access at anytime. Going digital has proven to save our company money on top of it being safer, more efficient, and better for the environment. My business is now investigating encrypted cloud storage platforms that are run 100% on renewal energy. Making small changes in how I run my company has an impact on our environment. But it also saved me money. Also, did you know that paper that is discarded into the landfill can make up 25-40% of greenhouse emission?
These events got me thinking on a personal level. What can I do in my personal life that could have the same impact on the environment? The first thing that came to my mind was my home and my family. How could I make my home safer, more efficient and better for the environment, while also saving money?
I started with small, simple ways to make my home more efficient. For example: checking seals annually (door jambs and windows) for any unnecessary air flow. Or using technology like HomeKit to control my thermostat, fans and lights and being more conscious of recycling certain plastic’s or old electronics. I was shocked the difference it made! All these things lead to one idea I have had for several years that I firmly believe will make a huge difference. Solar Panels.
- The pricing of solar panels has dropped nearly 60% in the last 2 years since 2019. 90% since 2010.
- A study by the federal government was conducted in 2018 showing the “future” price of solar to be more affordable than all current electricity methods in Canada. That future pricing now exists.
- There are existing grants available that will disappear very soon if we don’t take advantage of them.
- The Canada Green Homes ($5000 off) *** Plus a FREE Energy Advisor Consultation ($600 from Feds, $400 from provide, $100 from City of Kelowna)
- PST exemption (BC)
- The Fortis Net Metering initiative (They will pay you for electricity you dont use by sending it back to the grid)
- There is financing available as low at 1.2%.
- A properly installed solar system and achieve a 10%-12% NET annual return on investment.
Why am I telling you all of this?
I have personally decided to install Solar Panels on my house in March 2022. They will make my home safer for my family, and have a positive impact on the environment, and save us money. Also, I never would have imagined that I will be able to charge my vehicle by the power of the sun! By the way, did you know the government plans to ban internal combustion engines by 2035? Did you know that in California, it is now mandatory for new construction to install solar panels?
This research got me thinking… I can’t be the only person who see’s the inevitability of solar panels as a requirement within all communities in Canada over the next few years? So if we can’t beat it, why not join it? Especially with all of the grants, incentives and affordable pricing, and locking in your energy needs for over 25 years. These questions led me to wanting to push the bar even further. What if we could save even more money and make this idea even more efficient, by doing it together?
Perhaps you are imagining this enormous, hideous tower of solar panels on the front yard of everyones house. Similar to what we saw recently installed just outside of our community. Let me be clear, in my opinion, that thing is ugly. Almost as ugly as the giant Electric station just down the street we built our neighbourhood around.
My plan is to research and use blended high density monocrystalline solar panels that are discreetly installed into the roofline. For example, the Canadian Solar HIDM5 panels are sensible in cosmetic appearance which will not detract from our community guidelines.
What am I asking from you?
The simple answer: absolutely nothing if you are not interested. However, further research has pointed out that if solar equipment is purchased in bulk (200KWhr or more AKA. 15-20 houses minimum), we could cut our cost of supplies by another 50% by ordering direct from a manufacturer.
If you are interested. We are asking for you to complete this anonymous survey to get an idea of the interest on this initiative.
I am not asking for any commitments. I am also not asking for any upfront funding for this project. I simply want to start a conversation with my neighbours, to see who might like to collaborate with this idea. And if they have any foreseeable plans to invest in solar panels. Maybe we could save some money doing this together, and help set the bar for our neighbours to follow suit?
Thank you for taking the time to review this request. We are very excited to see the results of this initiative. Perhaps we will set the standard for other local communities? Please feel free to contact me directly at anytime with any comments or questions you have.
Frequently Asked Questions.
For any of you interested in collaborating with this initiative. The following target dates have been set:
Complete this anonymous survey over the holidays: We want to hear your thoughts, questions, and opinion on this idea.
Complete the survey here: https://forms.gle/4MuSQFNqq9eg96f18
January 15th 2022
Invite any and all interested Tower Ranch neighbours to a digital zoom conference. This includes any opposed to the idea, so we can hear the expressions of different viewpoints on this matter and answer any questions people have.
Provide those interested an estimate of costs involved depending on how many people wish to be involved.
Jan 15 – Feb 15th
Help neighbours through the application of grants and the energy advisor process and financing. Source the best lenders for clients specific circumstance who wish to finance the work.
February 15th 2022
Confirm Stage 1 of those interested in the bulk purchase. Confirm all have been educated on product solutions and come to a mutual agreement on products and installers being used.
March 1st 2022 – October 2022
Order our supply and coordinate installations
Installing Solar panels on your home is not going to cost you anything. And in fact will actually prove to be an investment.
A typical Solar Installation for supply and install will be approximately $10k – 30k. But with incredibly low financing solutions, incentives and grants currently available. A monthly payment to cover these costs will actually provide the potential to ZERO out your electricity bill, and save you money short term and long term by locking in your energy costs.
On January 15th we encourage you to sign up to attend the initial meeting so we can explain these figures to you.
Hydro Power is a stable way to produce consistent power. Solar power generation works best when the sun is at its peak, which generally happens during the middle of the day. After the sun sets, solar power systems have no more energy to draw from (unless battery storage units are installed). Hydro is the most common and least expensive form of renewable energy in British Columbia. On the other hand, hydro power generation often comes with significant impact to the environment. Damming rivers impacts local habitats and ecosystems and may lead to flooding, changes in flow patterns and problems with fish migration. Further, Hydro power is controlled by a utility company. With the push in climate change over the next 10 years, why not lock in your energy cost’s using solar power, compared to relying on a utility company who will continue to increase pricing? The cost of energy and inflation is going up. You can take control of your energy costs and prepare your home for future black outs with a self sustaining power grid built into your home. It just makes sense
Let me make my position clear on climate change – I am not against fossil fuels. Oil and gas have a purpose in our foreseeable future. We as the human race are starting to understand the value of using these fuel’s in moderation. This open letter is not an agenda to bring down enormous economic sectors. I do not support any green political party, nor have any affiliation with any political party what-so-ever. My personal beliefs keep me neutral on these matters. I have learned that there is no right or wrong. There is simply moving forward or backward. My hope is too encourage the community to become proactive about solutions that will improve the lives of those around us.